Fall Is for Baking

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Fall is just around the corner, and that brings to mind baking with all of the fresh fall fruits and vegetables. Fall also brings to mind County and State Fairs, and with that comes Baking Contests. Don’t forget to bring your favorite baked cookies, pies and cakes to the Lenoir County Fair on the afternoon of Wednesday, September 21. Judging is on site and after the judging fairgoers get to taste the contest entries!!

Easy Carmel Apple Bars


  • ½ cup cold butter
  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) oatmeal cookie mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup finely chopped peeled apple
  • ¾ cup caramel topping
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, cut butter into cookie mix using fork or pastry blender. Stir in egg until mixture is crumbly.
  3. Reserve 1½ cups cookie mixture. Press remaining cookie mixture into bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle apple evenly over crust. In small bowl, mix caramel topping and flour; drizzle over apples. Sprinkle reserved cookie mixture over apples.
  4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 2 hours. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows.

Serves 12.

Apple Cider Cream Pie


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch dice and chilled
  • 3 tablespoons cold milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Filling and Topping

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon


  1. In a food processor, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine the milk and vinegar and drizzle it on top. Pulse in 1-second bursts until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather up any crumbs and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  2. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to an 11-inch round, a scant ¼ inch thick; ease it into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Trim the overhanging dough to 1 inch and fold it under itself. Crimp decoratively and chill the crust until firm, about 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 15 minutes, until the crust is barely set. Remove the parchment and pie weights. Cover the edge of the crust with strips of foil and bake for about 15 minutes longer, until the crust is just set but not browned. Press the bottom of the crust lightly to deflate it as it puffs; let cool. Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
  4. In a medium saucepan, boil the cider until it’s reduced to ½ cup, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Whisk in ¾ cup of the sugar, the sour cream and salt, then whisk in the eggs.
  5. Pour the custard into the pie shell without removing the foil strips. Bake the pie in the lower third of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custard is set around the edge but the center is slightly jiggly. Let the pie cool completely.
  6. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and the cinnamon until firmly whipped. Mound the cream on the pie, cut into wedges and serve. 
Serve with baked apple slices.

Pecan Browned Butter Coffee Cake


Coffee Icing

  • 5 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. For cake: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to cook, without stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes or until butter becomes brown and fragrant. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Transfer to a bowl. Cover and chill for 2 hours or freeze for 30 minutes or until firm.
  2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a10-inch fluted tube pan; set aside.
  3. For filling: In a bowl, combine ¾ cup of the pecans, ½ cup of the brown sugar, and the 2 teaspoons flour. Add 3 tablespoons of the browned butter and work in with fingers or a fork until mixture is crumbly; set aside. In another bowl, stir together the 3 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat remaining browned butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add remaining 1½ cups brown sugar; beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until combined. Stir in vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and yogurt to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Stir in the remaining 1¼ cups pecans. Spoon half of the batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle evenly with filling. Spoon remaining batter over filling, spreading to cover.
  5. Bake about 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Drizzle with Coffee Icing.
  6. For Coffee Icing: In a bowl, stir together 4 teaspoons milk and instant coffee crystals until dissolved. Stir in powdered sugar and enough additional milk (1 to 2 teaspoons) to make a drizzling consistency.

Sweet Potato Pie


  • 1 recipe Single-Crust Pie Pastry, see recipe, or 1 rolled refrigerated unbaked pie crust (½ of a 15-oz. pkg.)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 5 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
  • Dash ground nutmeg
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked, and mashed (1⅓ cups)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare pastry and line 9-inch pie plate.
  2. In bowl beat eggs with whisk. Whisk in sugar, evaporated milk, butter, lemon peel, and nutmeg. Whisk in sweet potatoes until combined. Pour into crust-lined pie plate.
  3. To prevent overbrowning, cover edges of pastry with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover edges and bake 20 to 30 minutes more or until filling is set and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate within 2 hours after it cools.

Serves 8. Each serving contains Calories 338, Fat 15 mg, Cholesterol 69 mg, Sodium 155 mg, Carbohydrates 45 g, Fiber 2 g, Sugar 24 g, Protein 6 g.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake


  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 cups, all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups cut up seasonal fresh fruit*
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Powdered sugar, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously brush a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 9-inch cake pan with the butter; set aside.
  2. In a food processor combine the ½ cup granulated sugar and almonds. Cover and pulse with several on/off turns until mixture is fine. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in flour, lemon peel, baking powder, and salt until combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, olive oil, 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and the almond extract. Add to flour mixture all at once, stirring just until combined. Pour batter into prepared skillet, spreading evenly.
  4. Bake 25 minutes (bake 30 minutes if using a cake pan) or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in skillet on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine fruit, the remaining 3 tablespoons lemon juice, and the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
  5. If desired, dust cake with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature with fruit mixture.
  6. Top with fresh fruit, some suggestions include, blood oranges, peeled and sectioned; fresh berries; pitted cherries; sliced peeled peaches; sliced nectarines; and/or sliced plums, or a combination.

Serves 8. Each serving contains Calories 350, Fat 14 g, Cholesterol 75 mg, Sodium 401 mg, Fiber 3 g, Sugar 22 g, Protein 8 g.